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 Article 5 of the Constitution; Is Loyalty to the State and Obedience to the Constitution and law Possible in Pakistan?

A constitution is critical because it ensures that those who make decisions on behalf of the public legally represent public opinion.
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A constitution is critical because it ensures that those who make decisions on behalf of the public legally represent public opinion. It also demonstrates how those who exercise power may be held accountable to the people they serve. 

What is the Loyalty of the State? In practice, the duty of Loyalty to the State is not to harm the State in such a way as to prevent its continued existence and functioning as a framework that protects the individuals living within its territory. In general, Loyalty is fidelity and commitment to a nation, cause, philosophy, country, group, or person. Philosophers disagree on what can be an object of Loyalty, as some argue that Loyalty is strictly interpersonal and only another human being can be the object of Loyalty. The connotation of Loyalty in law and political science is the fidelity of an individual to a nation, either one’s country of birth or one’s expressed home nation by oath (naturalization). However, modern nation-states are evolving, and the concepts of multi-culturalism and globalization are evolving the definition of Loyalty towards the country and State. How is Loyalty measured? It is a pertinent question. The Constitution of a state incorporated the idea, content and substance of the phrase and subsequent legislation and delegated legislation to provide the structures of Loyalty. Negation and breakage of the law regimes of the term “loyalty” institute an offence related to disloyalty. Hence, modern states face the following challenges to the concept of Loyalty.   

  • The nation-state remains the paramount political Loyalty in the contemporary world.
  • National loyalties are placed in question by increasingly multicultural and multinational societies and massive global movements of ‘stateless’ people.
  • Struggles for statehood are the basis of many severe conflicts around the world.
  • We need to ask if there are political theory criteria to guide us in nationalist disputes.

Obedience to the law and Constitution is the hallmark of article 5 of the Constitution. What is obedience to the law and Constitution? The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The social and political contract between citizens and the State ensures that all the parties obey the spirit and content of the political agreement. Therefore, it is incumbent upon citizens and the State to abide by the Constitution and law. It is critical for social cohesion, governance and the rule of law. Obedience to law and Constitution is a synonym for obedience to law and Constitution. In general, the rule of law implies that the creation of laws, their enforcement, and the relationships among legal authorities are legally regulated so that no one—including the most highly placed official—is above the law. The legal constraint on rulers means that the government is subject to existing laws as much as its citizens are. Thus, a closely related notion is the idea of equality before the law, which holds that no “legal” person shall enjoy privileges that are not extended to all and that no person shall be immune from legal sanctions. In addition, the application and adjudication of legal rules by various governing officials are to be impartial and consistent across equivalent cases, made blindly without considering the class, status, or relative power among disputants. For those ideas to have any accurate purchase, there should be some legal apparatus for compelling officials to submit to the law.

Consequently, Loyalty to the State and obedience to the Constitution are preliminary obligations. Contemporary nation-states expect and secure it from the citizens. Therefore, disloyalty is unacceptable and often declared political infidelity. Obedience to the political contract of the nation is also critical for civil and political life. A nation’s social and political discipline is indispensable for good governance, law and order, and peace. Civil liberties and rights are vital for individual and collective life, yet obedience to the law and Constitution is the primary obligation of citizens and state functionaries.

 Article 5 of the Constitution expresses Loyalty to the State as a fundamental duty upon every citizen. It unleashes obedience to the Constitution as an inviolable obligation of every citizen. This article trades with four comprehensive concepts: Loyalty, duty, obligation and obedience. Duty and obligation are often used interchangeably; nevertheless, in the words of German philosopher Immanuel Kant “an act of duty emanates from moral law whereas an obligation, on the other hand, arises out of the set of rules aimed at maintaining order”. Let’s compare Kant’s version of duty with article 5 of the Constitution. This article declares Loyalty as a duty which one may say is a concept moral in kind, and declares obedience to the Constitution and law as an inviolable obligation. Thus, article 5 infers that obedience as an obligation is regulated by the Constitution, whereas Loyalty as a duty has no approaches or set of rules or binding force upon a citizen; hence it is governed more by morals and morality.

It raises another critical question: whether Loyalty and obedience are synonymous, whether these terms have no differences, and why the Constitution has used them. The answer to this question is uncomplicated and is pronounced from the caption of article 5 of the constitution “Loyalty to state and obedience to constitution and law”.

 It completes it precisely that a citizen’s Loyalty is accountable to the society; on the contrary, a citizen’s obedience is subject to the Constitution and law.

There also arises a fundamental question. Is Loyalty and obedience to the law and Constitution incumbent upon only citizens? The article explains that it is the inviolable obligation of every citizen to remain loyal to the State and obedient to the Constitution and law. It is equally elemental for citizens and state functionaries to stay loyal and obedient to the Constitution and law. Article 199 of the Constitution confirms that state functionaries shall perform their functions in line with the Constitution and law. Hence, implementing the law and Constitution is the sacred trust and obligation of the State and society. 

Concludingly, article 5 of the Constitution is critical for social cohesion, the rule of law and good governance. Nevertheless, the spirit of the article does not reflect the judicial, administrative, executive and legislative business of the State and society. Article 7 of the Constitution defines the State of Pakistan. It reads that the State means the Federal Government, Parliament, Provincial Assembly, and such local or other authorities in Pakistan as are by law empowered to impose any tax or cess. Thus, Loyalty to this political dispensation is crucial for citizens and state functionaries. All organs of the government, including the legislature, executive and judiciary, must uphold the cardinals of article 5 of the Constitution. Implementing the spirit of article 5 of the Constitution is instrumental for the rule of law and good governance.       

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